Document 1008

Review of "Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" (Liz Lochhead)

Author(s): Liz Niven

Copyright holder(s): Liz Niven


"Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" by Liz Lochhead Pub. £8.99 pp194

It’s great tae hae gathert thegither, the furst an earliest works o this foremaist Scottish poet. Collectit ower sic a lang nummer o year, we are gien access an insicht intae somebodie’s life, luives an passions. Even thou she says herself, in ‘A Giveaway’, ‘Poets don’t bare their souls, they bare their skill’, it’s shairly no possible tae hide aw yer soul’s preoccupations ower twinty year o work. Sae monie picters o a life baith real an imaginary, read in its entirety, it’s an astonishin mixter o sic a wide rynge o themes.

The buik’s peoplt by sisters, granparents, lovers, workers at the Barras, fairy tale characters, Lewis Islanders. There’s no much missin fae this poet’s attentions. An humour sits side by side wi daith an sadness as she explores a myriad o human relationships across this countrie as weel as across continents.

Alberta, Ontario, the banks o the Hudson, time spent in Canada provide rich material for a nummer o poems leavin the reader wi snatches o life amang a land o prairies, railways an Cape Cod barbecues. In ‘The Carnival Horses’, the exquisite line, ‘All along Hudson they are sanding down/ the carnival horses’ lends a dreamlike quality wi echoes o Larkin’s ‘Whitsun Wedding’ in its recountin o the activities tae be seen that day.

The wonderful section, ‘Grimm Sisters’ explores weel kent fairy tale characters and stories, spinnin a modrin slant ontae familiar myths. Tam Lin stickin his girlfreen oan the last bus, Rapunzel ‘keener than a TV quizmaster’, Ariadne’s mother is ‘mincing around in that rawhide trouser suit’. These are clever twentieth centurie takes oan legends fae wir stock o classic tales.

‘Memo for Spring’ brings back early Lochhead work. Poems fae the poet’s childhood luik fondly oan pals like Mary wi the same coloured ribbons, or Daft Annie fae the same village, while failed and staled luive affairs are postmortemed wi a cauld een. In ‘Morning After’, a failin relationship is analysed as the Sunday newspapers are read, ‘you flick too quickly/ too casually through the pages, with/ too passing/ an interest.’

The reader of this fine collection o poems willnae flick too quickly at aw. Mair likely, readers will return again an again tae relish the skill an imagination an honestie o this lang awaited Collected poems.

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The SCOTS Project and the University of Glasgow do not necessarily endorse, support or recommend the views expressed in this document.


Cite this Document

APA Style:

Review of "Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" (Liz Lochhead). 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 13 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Review of "Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" (Liz Lochhead)." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 13 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Review of "Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" (Liz Lochhead)," accessed 13 July 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1008

Review of "Dreaming Frankenstein & collected poems 1967-1984" (Liz Lochhead)


Text audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Informed lay people
Audience size 100+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Word count 411

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Magazine (e-zine)

Text publication details

Publisher Lallans Magazine
Part of larger text
Contained in Lallans Magazine

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Author details

Author id 19
Forenames Liz
Surname Niven
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Occupation Writer
Place of birth Glasgow
Region of birth Glasgow
Birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Dumfries
Region of residence E & Mid Dumfries
Residence CSD dialect area Dmf
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Gardener
Father's place of birth Glasgow
Father's region of birth Glasgow
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Seamstress
Mother's place of birth Glasgow
Mother's region of birth Glasgow
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Gsw
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Work / home
French Yes Yes Yes Yes With French people / films
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Work / home